When you look back on your childhood, do you find glimpses of your call to be a writer? Not all writers came out of the womb holding a pencil. Many of us didn’t call ourselves writers until much later in our lives. Things were less busy and our minds had time and space to think and create.
But the love of writing has always been part of our lives. It showed up in various ways and wasn’t always felt as a tap on the shoulder towards a writing career. Putting words down on paper felt good. You didn’t think about being a writer. You just wrote.
What childhood memories do you have of writing? You may be surprised at the gems that you find. Here are some of mine that may help jog your memory of your first calls to write.
Comic Books. When I saw The Avengers movie back in May, I was reminded of the comic books my siblings and I would create. A pencil, a piece of paper, and our fertile imaginations were the tools we used for our superhero world. We held paper against a window pane to trace drawings from real comic books and make the stories our own.
Newspaper. Using my father’s old typewriter, my siblings and I published a newspaper for a fictional town. We’d make up stories about local crime or review the newest cereal, and we’d include a comic strip and the weather report. Then we’d cut and paste and be proud of our work.
Playwright. While attending a summer camp, I wrote, directed, and starred in a play that I called Stuck Foot. It was my first and only play. My 12-year-old ego was stoked, but it wasn’t because I was proud of my writing. I liked the warmth of the limelight.
Song Lyrics. My family was full of musicians and I was writing silly song lyrics at an early age. In my teens, though, I decided to pursue a singing career. I began writing pop songs, which, when you get down to it, are really three-minute stories.
School Newspaper and Yearbook Staff. When I look back now, I see that junior high school is when my love for writing flourished. I joined my friends in these extracurricular activities, but my real focus (secretly) was on that singing dream. I had no thoughts of myself as a writer. Yet there I was in the thick of it as I submitted articles, came up with photo captions, and enjoyed being part of a creative team of writers.
Reports and Essay Questions. There was no schoolwork I relished more than reports. I loved the organization and work outside the classroom that they required. Book reports, research reports, bring ’em on. And the topic didn’t matter; it was the process I enjoyed. I felt like I was using the teacher’s questions to create a work of art. And I carried that childhood love into my college years. For me, it was a waste of good thinking time when midterms and finals consisted of multiple choice questions only. Give me essay questions. Having to carry a blue book into an exam ensured I would have time to show what I learned in a way I enjoyed.
I see now that the call of “writer” had been whispered my way throughout my childhood. Was I ignoring that Voice? Or is recognizing it now a confirmation of what I’m doing today?
Now it’s your turn to think about your call to writing.
What memories do you have of an early love for writing?